Glossary

Here are terms you may find helpful.

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A

Annual Fee
Various card issuers charge an annual fee, which can help offset costs that issuers incur in maintaining accounts.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Sometimes called the Annual Interest Rate. The yearly interest rate or percentage that you pay on an outstanding balance in the form of interest.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
Lets you perform banking transactions anywhere and at anytime. By using a debit or ATM card at an ATM, you can withdraw cash from checking or savings accounts, make a deposit or transfer money from one account to another or perform other functions. You can also get cash advances using a credit card at an ATM. You should also be aware that many banks charge transaction fees - for using another bank's ATM.

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C

Cash Advance
You can obtain cash on the spot by using your card at a bank or an ATM. The amount of the cash advance is deducted from your available credit line or funds on deposits. A fee is often charged when obtaining cash advances. In addition, the interest rate is usually higher than on purchases and there is typically no grace period. (A cash advance is different from a withdrawal you make with your ATM card.)
Credit History
A record of how you have paid accounts in the past; used as a guide to determine whether you're likely to pay accounts on time in the future.
Credit Line/ Line of Credit
Also referred to as your credit limit. This is the maximum amount you can borrow using your card.

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F

Finance Charges
The price paid to a lender for the use of borrowed money. Interest is charged as a percentage of your outstanding balance (purchases and charges reduced by payments or credits posted). This percentage, or interest rate, can vary from card to card.
Fixed Rate
A set APR that does not change in response to interest rate changes and conditions. A Variable Rate periodically goes up or down based on fluctuations in market interest rates as reflected in a published index (e.g., the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal).

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G

Grace Period
The time - usually 20-25 days - when you're not charged interest for purchases you've made. For example, if the billing date on your credit card bill is May 1 and you have paid your prior balance in full, you may have until May 20 to pay your new balance in full. If you do, you will not be charged interest. If your payment arrives after May 20 - or if you don't pay the entire balance - you may be charged interest from the date of purchase as posted. Some accounts have no grace period, which means interest is charged on purchases from the date they are posted.

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I

Introductory Period
The period during which the Introductory Rate applies to balances outstanding on your account.
Introductory Rate
A special APR that applies for only a limited time.

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M

Merchant
Location or store where purchases are made.

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O

Online Banking
Online systems enable you to plug into a host of banking services from a personal computer by connecting with the bank's computers over the Internet.

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P

PIN
Personal Identification Number: Secret code you choose for your card that enables you to access your money or perform banking transactions through the ATM as well as make purchases without signing a sales receipt at merchants that have PIN pads. Don't share your PIN with anyone.

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T

Travel Assistance Services
Access helpful information on travel requirements including documentation (visas, passports), immunizations or currency exchange rates. Enrollment is automatic for eligible cardholders and the assistance service is free to cardholders.

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W

Worldwide Acceptance
With more than 32 million acceptance locations, no payment card is more widely accepted globally than MasterCard.

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